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Regional News of Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Regional Report: Okada riders in Asesewa accuse police of harassment, call for legalization

They have complained of deliberate arrest by the police for crimes they have not committed They have complained of deliberate arrest by the police for crimes they have not committed

Correspondence from Eastern Region:

Some motorcycle transporters popularly known as “okada” operating at Asesewa in the Eastern Region have complained of deliberate arrest and extortion by the police for crimes they have not committed.

According to a section of the riders GhanaWeb spoke to, these policemen use different kinds of charges against them just to extort money from them.

About 100 okada riders operate in and around the Asesewa main lorry station, a situation which has created human traffic and congestion.

The services of the commercial motorcycle operators are invaluable in the district, especially as roads leading to most communities in the Upper Manya Krobo District remain in a deplorable state.

The riders take their passengers to communities such Kokonde, Seseaman, Deedesu, Akumesu, Akusu, Akateng, etc.

According to the riders, the drivers at the station are not amused at their presence, resulting in acrimonies between the two sides fighting for the same passengers.

One of them, Albert who has operated commercial motorcycle at the station for the past one year told this Correspondent that arbitrary police arrests, extortions and turf war with drivers were some of their concerns.

“Sometimes, the drivers fight us over space and the police also worry us a lot. When they (police) arrest us on the road, they don’t appreciate the little money we give them, they want it big and this is a big problem for us.”

Though Albert conceded that operating on the road is improper, he said they simply had no choice.

“I know we are operating from the road but you see, we don’t really have much space in the Krobo communities to operate. We don’t have anywhere to park and we can’t go and indulge in stealing. So we are managing from this place to earn a living.”

Asked if they ensure their safety and that of their pillion riders by using the helmet, Albert said “I use the helmet a lot but there are some passengers who don’t like to use the helmet. We may have helmets at the back but they sometimes break due to the bumps so we don’t have passenger helmets. We the riders don’t joke with our helmets though a few of the riders don’t like to use it the majority of us use it.”

Abotre Emmanuel, also an okada rider also complained bitterly about the problems they encounter with the police during their operations.

“The first problem that we usually encounter is the police, they disturb us a lot. Whether you register the motorbike or not, when they catch you, they’ll take money from you. Whether you have license or the motorbike is registered, when they catch you, they’ll take money from you,” said Abotre.

With the legalization of okada standing out as one of the major campaign issues in the last general elections, the okada rider advocated for the legalization of the trade as the best way to solve the problem.

“Government should legalize okada so that whoever buys okada, you’ll make sure you register the motorbike. If you register the motorbike, there’s no way for a policeman to take money from you.”

Another rider who identified himself as Isaac also cited the lack of a station for them as a major problem confronting their activities.

He admitted that most of them do not have licenses to operate a motorcycle, fail to register their motor and roadworthy which compels the police to crack down on them.'

He however pleaded with government to legalize their trade for them as it has provided most of the youth with employment.

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